(UPDATE) The Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) on Friday said it will limit the number of arriving international passengers to 300 due to lack of quarantine facilities.
“Sa succeeding days, ang ginawa natin, nag pa issue tayo ng advisory sa Civil Aeronautics Board. Ili-limit natin 'yung capacity to 300 per day. Kung dalawa 'yung flights for that day hati sila, 150 each,” MCIA Officer in Charge Glenn Napuli told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.
MCIA canceled international flights from May 14 to 15 as the city’s 2,500 capacity quarantine facilities for returning overseas Filipinos are full.
Napuli said the problem started after government imposed a 10-day minimum quarantine period for returning Filipinos and overseas Filipino workers.
The inter-Agency Task Force said inbound travelers should stay for 10 days at a quarantine facility, and complete a 4-day home quarantine in their destination. All arriving passengers will also undergo RT-PCR test on the 7th day upon arrival.
“With that, napupuno kami. As of today, wala na talagang rooms na available. Napilitan kami to cancel mga flights,” said Napuli.
Around 900 passengers are affected by the 2-day flight cancellation. Napuli said 200 passengers of Eva Air and about 350 onboard Qatar Airways are affected by the flight cancellation on Friday.
“Bukas naman isa lang yung flight, Qatar Airways which is 350 passengers,” he said.
Napuli said the 2-day flight cancellation would serve as their breathing space as they wait for the quarantine period of other passengers to end.
He clarified that only international flights are affected and that operations of local flights continue.
He said they were initially looking at diverting flights but other areas could not accommodate international passengers as their hotels are occupied too.
The 300-person cap on arrivals of returning Filipinos and OFWs will be implemented until May 31.
Napuli assured the public that they will immediately adjust once there’s a change in policy.
“Sa lahat ng mga OFWs, returning at saka 'yung mga gustong pumunta ng Pilipinas, pasensiya na talaga. Last minute namin ginawa ang desisyon na 'yun to cancel the flights kasi wala na talagang ibang option. 'Yung mga bagong hotels binubuksan na natin, sagad na talaga. Sorry talaga in behalf of MCIA, in behalf of government of Cebu,” he said.